Travel diary
Paris - Moskva
Moskva - Beijing
The recumbent bicycle
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Paris - Moskva
Moskva - Paris
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Practical information

East European countries

Security in the countries we went through is not threatened at all. Even though some countries further south are still quite insecure, the Czech Republic and Poland are really not dangerous, and people there are actually very friendly and helpful. If we have been strongly advised not to step into Belarus, security conditions in this country still need to be checked out, and concerning hospitality and generosity in Lituania and Latvia, they maybe don't have there equal anywhere else in Europe.


You shouldn't take your security for granted in Russia, as show the bombing that occurred only one week after our stay in the capital city. Nevertheless, we haven't been attacked at any time. People are also very hospitable in Siberia. About riding the bicycle in Russia, we are not sure we would have been able to perform the stages we had scheduled. The russian territory is actually organised in clusters between which desert landscapes stretch for hundreds of kilometres (then one may doubt of its own security). Visa is not easy to obtain for French citizens, and an invitation may be helpful. Gas is incredibly cheap (6 roubles a litter, that is about 1,50 FF).


No risk is ran in this country. People are wonderfull and even curious. They won't hesitate to help you and will always be friendly. Also, it is good to know that in Mongolia, every single car is a potential taxi. Then, to move around easily, don't be shy and hitchhike. The first car will stop and drive you wherever you want to go for a charge of 300 tögriks per kilometre (about 2,50 FF).


People are adorable, although sometimes boring in Beijing (they follow you and stick to you until you buy their stuff). Living in China seems to be a little bit more expensive than in Mongolia, but the difference is not that huge anyway. Also, be carreful of the taxi drivers when you get in Beijing (by train or by plane) who propose you a ride to your hotel for $30 (230 F) whereas it won't cost you more than 20 Yuans (20 F) if you are patient enough to wait until an honest guy shows up. No problem when applying for a visa. Achtung Deutschen ! The diplomatic relationship between Germany and China is not really good and the obtainment of a visa may thus be difficult. If you are planing to travel through several countries, apply for this visa at first because they might stick it on another one in your passport in order to annoy you.

Accomodation on the road from Troyes to Moscow

Everything has been more or less improvised on our way up to Poland, with one or two hours of daily research. Here is a list of the things to be remembered,

  • Pragues, residence for students Strahof, next to a football (soccer) stadium. During the summertime, the residence is turned into a youth hostel, welcoming travellers for about 40 FF per person (in double-rooms).
  • Plzen, the city has many youth hostels and you can get a list of them at the tourism office on the main place in downtown. Unfortunately they were all full as we were there (not surprising for the city where is brewed the world's best beer).
  • There is no real network of youth hostels in Poland but it seems that each average city has got an inn or at least a motel at very reasonable prices (40 to 50 FF a night).
  • Vilnius. Prices of hotels are amazingly very high, but people do their best to help you (a woman working in an expensive hotel spent nearly one hour giving a dozen of phone calls in order to find a place suitable for us). We eventualy ended up in a youth hostel nearby the railway station.
  • Moscow is a very expensive city (nothing surprising for a capital city), we have stayed in a hotel of the university (MGU) for $20 a night.
For more information about youth hostels, visit the website of the Fuaj.

Accomodations at the lake Baikal

We should have stayed in a tiny wooden house at the Baikal Meeting club ($10) in Bolchye Koty, a village which is only accessible by boat. For the reason we know , we eventualy slept in Nicola, not far from the harbour of Listvianka, in a cute little Isba for 100 roubles (25 FF). It seems several locals rent some houses of this kind in the area.

Accomodations in Oulan Bator

The best place to stay at in this city might be the Gahna's Guest House, according to the commentaries of travellers we have found on our way. We learnt it only latter on so we cannot tell whether it's real or not.

Se loger à Beijing

The Jinghua Hotel, located in the south of the city, is definitely a really good place for shoestring travellers and non alike. Although the hotel seems to be luxuous at first sight, and thus inaffordable, it provides beds in dormitories (4 beds per room) in the basement for 30 yuans (30 FF). There you may have fortunate encounters and can eat as well as a king for only 10 yuans (10 FF). The hotel is also home of an information center for travellers where you may find lots of really good tips to organise your trip in China (and even further afield).

List of the outfit

Common outfit
  • a van
  • tools for the van
  • 20 liters of oil
  • 10 liters of coolant
  • a tank of gas
  • a recumbent Orca 2x26" loaned by Airodin
  • a 28" bicycle
  • a bike helmet
  • tools for bicycle
  • one tire and two tubes per bicycle
  • patches and glue
  • a few spokes
  • a tire pump
  • a bike chain
  • road maps
  • two tents for three people each
  • a two-fire stove with a 5-litre gas tank (for Paris-Moscou)
  • a smal dish-heater with a few gas cartridges (for Moscou-Beijing)
  • kettles, plates and covers for six
  • a cooler
  • food for 6 people for 15 days
  • matresses and pillows to sleep and for the van
  • cereal sticks and energizing drinks
  • washing powder, soap for dishes, spunges
  • camera, films
  • we regret not to have taken a small tape recorder
  • medicine to fight against stiffness
  • aspirin
  • alcohol
  • scar tissues
  • bandages
  • anti-histamine
  • sunscreen, mosquitos repelant and lipstick
  • immodium (Moscou-Beijing)
  • micropur (Moscou-Beijing)
Personal stuffs
  • a backpack cleverly filled out (take only what is necessary)
  • a sleeping bag
  • a good pair of hiking shoes

Budget of our adventure

Currency Conversion (8th December 2000)
1 FF = 0.1347 US$ 1 US$ = 7.424 FF
1 FF = 0.0931 UK£ 1 UK£ = 10.74 FF
1 FF = 0.2981 DM 1 DM = 3.354 FF
1 FF = 0.1524 Euro 1 Euro = 6.56 FF
Get the last currency rates

Description Expenses
Paris - Moskva
Van (purchase, insurance, improvement...) 10 000 Francs
Gas 5 000 Francs
Accomodation (6 people x 14 days) 4 000 Francs
Food (6 people x 14 days) 4 000 Francs
Russian visas (6 people x 200 Francs) 3 300 Francs
Bicycles (1 recumbent, 1 classic + spare parts + tools) 10 500 Francs
Total 1 34 000 Francs
Moscou - Beijing
Tickets for the Transsiberian (4 peoples x 3000 Francs) 15 000 Francs
Accomodation (4 people x 10 nights) 4 200 Francs
Food (4 people x 18 days) 2 600 Francs
Mongolian visas (4 people x 300 Francs) 1 200 Francs
Activities (Guides, excursions, local transportation) 5 000 Francs
Total 2 28 000 Francs
Accomodation (4 people x 12 nights) 2 500 Francs
Food (4 people x 12 days) 1 620 Francs
Activities (Guides, excursions, local transportation) 4 000 Francs
Chinese visas (4 people x 220 Francs) 880 Francs
Flight tickets Beijing-Paris (4 people x 2500 Francs) 10 000 Francs
Total 3 20 000 Francs
General expenses
Pharmacy 1 000 Francs
Preparation (train, phone, filling fees...) 5 000 Francs
Imponderables 2 000 Francs
Total 4 8 000 Francs
Total 89 000 Francs

Description Receipts
Funds granted by Défi Jeune 20 000 Francs
Help from the Universities of Technology (UTC and UTT) 17 000 Francs
Funds granted by le Conseil Général de l'Oise 10 000 Francs
Recumbent bicycle loaned by Airodin 8 500 Francs
Sale of the van 7 000 Francs
Personal expenses 27 500 Francs
Total 89 000 Francs

© - Dernière modification le 01-01-1970 01h00